Planned investment of £2billion over the next 10 years could see Croydon competing with cities like New York.

New York City may have the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Centre and Central Park but if developers have their way over the next decade, Croydon will have a 25-storey residential tower, a 40-storey business park, music and sports arena and a £500million shopping mall.

And Croydon – already dubbed mini Manhattan – could soon rival the real Manhattan after London mayor Ken Livingstone earmarked the borough as the site for more than 17,000 new homes over the next 15 years.

To meet the demand for new houses he believes even more skyscrapers are needed.

Plans are underway for Altitude 25, a development of 196 apartments in Fairfield Road.

There is also a 66 loft-style apartment block planned for Scarbrook Road called The Exchange and Bridge House in Surrey Street will create 75 new homes. All three schemes, by developer Howard Holdings, are subject to planning permission.

Two companies are competing to build grand schemes on the area around East Croydon station, Croydon Gateway.

While Croydon Council’s preferred developer Arrowcroft wants to build a 12,500-seat arena, Stanhope and Schroders, which owns or controls the land, wants to see a smaller arena and a winter garden.

Croydon Council’s cabinet member in charge of economic development, Councillor Ian Payne, believes the town already competes with the big cities.

He said: “I would say Croydon already is [competing with London and New York].

“We have applied for city status twice and not achieved it for one reason or another.

“We look at other major cities in the United Kingdom and we are running a show as big as them.” Croydon-based developer Howard Holdings says its planned investment of £90million shows its confidence in the town’s economic prosperity.

The company’s investment director, Geoff Sparrow, is predicting a snowball effect with investors clamouring to take advantage of the borough’s communications, transport and retail facilities.

He said: “There’s nothing like ambition.

“I think it’s unlikely that Croydon will compete with New York. However, it’s a crucial area for investment.” But besides a quick chuckle a spokesman for London’s United States Embassy refused to comment on the possibility of Croydon becoming the next New York City.